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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Credit Card Sized Personal Alarm

Emergency Flashcard (Image courtesy AJ Prindle) By Andrew Liszewski

In my neck of the woods it gets dark out very, very early this time of year and being in a downtown setting it can make even everyday tasks like walking home from work a bit more dangerous. Thankfully since I rarely leave this computer desk prison of mine it’s not an issue for me but I know for others it can be a real concern.

If a personal alarm gives you a bit more peace of mind then this credit-card sized version will ensure you always have one on hand. Besides an ear-piercing siren the Flashcard also includes a single LED to be used as a flashlight and 3 other red LEDs that function as a safety flasher. It has a waterproof body and the included battery is rated for about 50 hours of light.

The Emergency Flashcard is available from AJ Prindle for $14.95.

[ Emergency Flashcard with light & siren ] VIA [ bookofjoe ]

Shuttle’s Wii-Like XPC X100

Shuttle XPC X100 (Image courtesy Shuttle Computer) By Andrew Liszewski

At first I thought I was looking at a Nintendo Wii that someone had decided to paint black but after I had woken up to the point where I was once again literate it turns out this is actually one of the latest small form-factor PCs from Shuttle Computer.

To any PC users who ever had Mac Mini envy (but only in size, not performance) the XPC X100 should be enough to satisfy you. At 11.76 x 8.27 x 2.1 inches the X100 will almost disappear on your desk but rest assured it still has the horsepower on the inside. Powered by either an Intel Celeron M or Dual Core processor the X100 supports up to 2GB of ram and basically any size hard drive you want to stick inside. It also has an 8x DVD+-RW dual-layer writer, an ATI Mobility Radeon X1400, onboard 7.1 channel audio with SPDIF, wifi, gigabit ethernet and even a built-in 4-in-1 card reader.

The Shuttle XPC X100 is available in two configurations for $799 or $999 but each system can be further customized for your particular needs.

[ Shuttle XPC X100 ] VIA [ TechEBlog ]

KIDSKEY Keyboard – You Know, For Kids

KIDSKEY Keyboard (Image courtesy Califone) By Andrew Liszewski

Though the bright colors may seem to indicate ‘for kids only’ I think this product is far more suited to homerow-challenged adults like my parents for example. I will admit that since being introduced to email they’re definitely getting better but neither of them will be moving away from their two-finger typing style anytime soon.

The KIDSKEY is actually designed to help children learn proper typing skills and the layout of a standard QWERTY keyboard since the number, vowel and consonant keys are all color coded so they stand out. However given what age most children start using computers these days I don’t think there’s any worry that future generations will be anything but flawless typists. It’s the current and older generations we have to worry about.

The KIDSKEY is available on the Califone website for $29.

[ KIDSKEY Keyboard ] VIA [ Newlaunches ]

We Have A Winner

Okay, well, it’s Monday. That means we get to announce the winner of our Neuros Giveaway. Well, it’s “Vi”, with this comment. And, we chose it entirely randomly. We scrolled the mouse and stopped somewhere on the screen, and the cursor was on Vi. It was random, except that Vi, being persistent, entered three times, thus increasing her chances. Of course, if she had entered thirty times instead, we would have gotten pissed and excluded her altogether. There’s a line between persistence and spammance, and we’re glad no one abused. We got about 135 comments, which is pretty sweet. A lot of creativity, and we liked that, but in the end we decided that we wouldn’t have time to deal with all the hate mail if we chose one joke, stupid comment, copy-pasted short story (yeah, monkey boy, we Googled it and we know it ain’t yours) over another. So, to be fair, we went random.

And for those of you with the blues, don’t despair. We got something coming up, and you’ll almost be glad you didn’t win.

Crazy Japanese Invention #3,291 (Or So)

By David Ponce

We like to think that the world would be a much duller place if it wasn’t for our friends in the Land of the Rising Sun. The list of mind-bendingly useless and ridiculous inventions that have come out of Japan over the last few years is too long to tally, and we couldn’t be happier. The video above shows you the latest, though we have precious little info. It’s a scooter, but it doesn’t run on wheels. Nor does it hover. It doesn’t float either.

Just watch the video, and you’ll get it. It’s worth a good laugh.

VIA [ NoPuedoCreer ]

Philipe Starck O-Ring Digi Watch Seems To Feature Sphincter

o-ring digi By David Ponce

Let’s forget for a minute that watches, in the cellphone age, are pretty much useless. They’re still the most acceptable form of male wrist-adornment, and for this reason it’s important to us that our timepieces do more than just tell the time; we like it when they look decent and distinctive. Now, I’ve professed my love for French designer Philipe Starck before and its nice to see him tackle the watch. The O-Ring Digi, made by Fossil is his interpretation of what we should be wearing on our wrists, and it looks different, allright. The hours are displayed as a number, while the minutes as segments that fill up the ring progressively. But, we’re not sure about the functional justification for having a hole, you know, in the middle of the face. It certainly gives the watch a different look. While it’s not something you’d see on my wrist, I’m quite sure that it might tickle the Euro-metrosexual’s fancy. And for $110, it makes a decent gift to get that guy with the funny, ironed-out hairdo and overly-tight jeans.

[ O-Ring Digi ] VIA [ SlashGear ]

The Elica Lamp Begs To Be Blown

elica lamp By David Ponce

We love it when a new gadget makes us chuckle; it usually means we get to ridicule it publicly, and the Elica Lamp is one such subject. Its designers sought a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist by making the on/off switch… a helix. Yeah, so if you want to turn your artsy lamp on, you blow on it. Turn it off? Blow on it again. It’s kind of like those “clap-on” lamps sold on infomercials some time back, but worse. Of course this way you don’t have to actually touch it, and we suppose this could be great to the severe germophobes out there. But we can’t help but feel that there’s really no point to it altogether. The company tries to emphasize the “windpower” connection, a point which is really sort of moot since you have to plug the lamp in the wall socket anyway to power it up. And the price for all this pointlessness? How about 150 lovely European ones, on pre-order?

[ Elica Lamp ] VIA [ Crave ]

eStarling Wireless Digital Photo Frame

eStarling Digital Photo Frame (Image courtesy PF Digital Inc.) By Andrew Liszewski

If I was ever in the market for one of these fancy digital photo frames I would definitely put this eStarling at the top of my list. Besides all the usual features like an improved 7-inch LCD screen and a built-in card slot supporting MMC, SD, MS and CF the eStarling is also Wifi equipped. (802.11 b/g) For the initial setup you need to connect the frame to your PC via a USB cable but once everything is running properly (WEP codes etc.) the picture frame will be able to receive photos wirelessly.

What’s even more impressive is that the eStarling can be setup to automatically retrieve images from the RSS feeds of most online photo services like Flickr, Picasa and even Webshots. Alternately the eStarling also supports standard POP email so you could setup a custom Gmail address for it and then any photos sent to that account will appear on the frame. Of course the 128Mb of internal storage is pretty small by today’s standards so hopefully the frame is able to write images to an inserted memory card as well.

The eStarling appears to be exclusively available from ThinkGeek for $249.99.

[ eStarling Wireless Digital Photo Frame ] VIA [ Krunker ]

Altair 8800 Kit

Altair 8800 Kit (Images courtesy Altairkit.com)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m probably far more versed in the history of the personal computer than someone really should be but in high school I was quite fascinated by the whole saga and read a lot of books on the subject. One device that got a lot of mentions was the MITS Altair 8800 which is considered to be the system that truly sparked the personal computer revolution.

Among certain collectors the MITS Altair 8800 is considered to be one of the most prized computers you can own. In fact the first working sample was sent to Popular Electronics’ offices in New York to be photographed but never arrived and has never been seen since. Somewhere, somebody is in possession of a priceless piece of hardware and doesn’t even realize it.

Of course the next best thing to finding an actual Altair 8800 is to build yourself a working replica. Grant Stockly from AltairKit.com is putting together kits complete with cases silk-screened with the Altair logo allowing any PC enthusiast to build their own. A working knowledge of soldering and electronics is required to tackle the DIY Altair but if you goofed up somewhere along the way Grant will gladly diagnose and repair your kit for free. (As long as you pay for the shipping both ways.)

If you’re thinking this might be a great Christmas gift for someone then you better get your wallet out since there are a limited number of kits available before the big day arrives and they’re exclusively being sold on eBay at the moment. It looks like the last auction closed at $1,725 but there are two more sitting at bids of $1,700 and $400.

[ Altair 8800 Kit ] VIA [ SlashGear ]